Two Business Lessons From a Guy Who Ate An Airplane

Two great questions – Is it possible? Should I do it?

Thirty five years ago a Frenchman, Michel Lotito became well-known because he ate a Cessna 150. Yep, he ate the whole thing; wings, tires, windows, seats, engine – everything. It took him two years, but he got the whole thing down, and I’m assuming, out.

On a tech forum in 2001, someone recounted the story, and the first response was, “Uh ok… but why an airplane?” Which leads us to two really important business lessons we should learn from eating an airplane.

Business Lesson #1 – Hard stuff is rarely impossible

You can do anything one bite at a time.

Born prematurely at 4.5 lbs, Wilma Rudolph took her first steps at eight years old, after suffering for years from polio. She went on to become the fastest woman alive and the first to win three Olympic gold medals.

At 16, Chris Zane convinced his parents to let him take over a bike shop going out of business, borrowing $23,000 from his grandfather—at 15 percent interest. This year, 30 years later, he expects to bring in $21 million.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses stopped embroidering at age 76 when her hands became too crippled to hold a needle. With no formal training or education, she took up painting and became one of the most famous and acclaimed painters in history, Grandma Moses.

Ray Kroc started franchising McDonalds at the age of 59. Colonel Sanders franchised KFC at 62.

A lot of personal and business accomplishments defy the possible. Stop whining about what you think you can’t do. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” Take one step at a time. Keep going. Don’t give up.

Business Lesson #2 – Pick something worth doing before you start

There’s nothing worse than eating an airplane just to have someone ask, “Uh, ok… but why an airplane?” Business is hard enough. Don’t make it harder by continuing to beat your head against the wall to do things that, in the end, won’t matter. Choose wisely. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Michel Lotito died at the age of 57 of “natural causes”. Uh-huh. Eating an airplane is a bad idea.

When setting out to do something, always make sure you ask BOTH the following questions.
1) Is it possible? (It almost always is) and…
2) Should I do it? (What is the possible reward?)

Lotito only asked the first one. Don’t make that mistake.

Put your hand to what others think is impossible, but make sure it’s worth doing before you start.